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Philosophische Zeitschrift der Kant-Gesellschaft

Ed. by Baum, Manfred / Dörflinger, Bernd / Klemme, Heiner F.

CiteScore 2018: 0.37

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.193
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.972

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Volume 108, Issue 4


The Normativity of Prudence

Markus Kohl
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  • Philosophy Department, University of North Carolina, Caldwell Hall #CB 3125 240 East Cameron Chapel Hill NC 27599-3125 Chapel Hill, USA,
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Published Online: 2017-12-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kant-2017-0042


Kant’s account of “precepts of prudence” raises a striking interpretive puzzle. On the one hand, he presents such precepts as normative-practical rules; on the other hand, he relegates them to theoretical philosophy. I argue that to render these two strands coherent, we must assume that our empirical nature is a “source of normativity” for us: prudence is normative for us just because we have an “unconditional” empirical desire for obtaining happiness, a maximum of pleasant sensations. Since rules of prudence cognize the means for causing a state of affairs that we desire and value insofar as we are receptive natural beings, these rules do not presuppose the active self-legislation of practical reason. Hence they belong to the theoretical cognition of nature.

Keywords: Normativity; Prudence; Happiness; Hypothetical Imperatives

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Published Online: 2017-12-08

Published in Print: 2017-12-04

Citation Information: Kant-Studien, Volume 108, Issue 4, Pages 517–542, ISSN (Online) 1613-1134, ISSN (Print) 0022-8877, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kant-2017-0042.

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